Zuma - rapturous welcome

Durban - President Jacob Zuma received a rapturous welcome from thousands of women who had packed into Umlazi's King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

Singing and ulalating from the women, most of whom were wearing African National Congress Womens League uniforms or ANC t-shirts emblazoned with Zuma's portrait.

ANCWL president Angie Motshekga said that much has been achieved since the advent of democracy in 1994, but that much more needed to be achieved to bring gender equality.

"Some of the problems identified 60 years ago still persist. A girl child must not walk with that fear that there is a rapist behind her."

She said that while constitutionally the rights of women were protected, there needed more to be done in achieving gender equality on the ground.

Security was tight at the stadium with snipers visible on top of the main stand of the stadium as the equestrian unit of the eThewkini metro police patrolled the outskirts of the stadium.

There were several performances by numerous bands and groups that sung and danced.

Numerous buses arrived with singing women emanating from them.

Police also had strict control over the Mangosuthu Highway as they controlled traffic.

Women's agenda

However, the festivities were marred by an early accident at the entrance to the highway where police were clearing an accident that had claimed the life of one man.

His body, covered in silver sheeting could still be seen lying on the Mangosuthu Highway as metro police cleared the scene in a bid to keep traffic flowing.

On this day in 1956 around 20 000 women participated in a national march to protest against pass law legislation, which required non-white South Africans to carry a document on them to prove that they were allowed to enter "white areas".

Women of all races and ages from all corners of the country marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The march was organised by the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) and led by Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophy Williams and Lilian Ngoyi.

This year's festivities were held under the theme: "20 years of democracy: Moving women's agenda forward through socio-economic transformation".